- Bradford Doolittle, ESPN Staff Writer
After clearing away the last vestiges of the Isiah Thomas debacle, former New York Knicks honcho Donnie Walsh started the process of reconstructing the team's core. He started by throwing max money at Amare Stoudemire to anchor the fine, young group he'd assembled, then traded the bulk of his young core for a starry-eyed Carmelo Anthony. Walsh stepped down before the lockout, so it was interim general manager Glen Grunwald who completed the makeover from the Thomas years by signing center Tyson Chandler.
The result? The Knicks have a new big three consisting of three frontcourt players who haven't yet fit together particularly well. Coach Mike D'Antoni's roster doesn't include a true point guard, even though his system was constructed for playmaking lead guards. Including the playoffs, the Knicks are just 20-25 since acquiring Anthony. Is this what Knicks fans were waiting for? Let's take a look at what's keeping New York from becoming one of the NBA's elite teams.
The Knicks' offense is ailing, ranking 22nd in offensive efficiency. D'Antoni is running the same basic offense he used in Phoenix when Steve Nash was winning MVP awards, an attack that led the league in efficiency four straight years. There has been a lot of attention paid to the Knicks' pick-and-roll game, a staple of the D'Antoni attack. According to mySynergySports.com, New York ranks in the league's top 10 in both pick-and-rolls finished by the ball handler and those finished by the roll man.
That isn't bad, but there are issues beyond those numbers.
10hMarc Stein and Mike Mazzeo
4dIan O'Connor, ESPN Senior Writer